In 2002 Koung Jor Shan Refugee Camp was established near Piang Luang on the Thai-Burma border in northern Thailand. The camp is a close-knit community of over 400 Shan refugees who fled the internal conflicts in Burma to look for safety in Thailand.
Residents live in bamboo huts with mud floors and thatched roofs. The region experiences seasons of heavy rainfall and blazing heat which severely damage the structure of the huts.
One resident, Lung Lau Hseng, and his family of seven were living in one of the most basic huts in the camp. His wife, Pa Haw Saw, had to lay down wooden planks on the mud floors during the rainy season to prevent family members from slipping. In addition the roof had become so weak from the climate conditions that it was on the verge of collapsing.
Thanks to one of our long-term sponsors we were able to fund renovations for Lung Lau Hseng and Pa Haw Saw’s hut and ensure that they and their family could live in a safe environment.
Koung Jor Shan Refugee Camp was established when over 500 people, led by a village headman, fled the fighting between the Burmese and ethnic armies in their villages in southern Shan State. Lung Lau Hseng and his family helped build the camp after leaving their own village and have lived in the camp ever since.
Lung Lau Hseng lives with his wife Pa Haw Saw and their five children ages six to 18 years old. He is unable to work because of his ill-health but his wife works hard and weaves with the other women in the camp to earn an income. They have also taken an orphaned boy into their home, despite their struggle to feed and send their own children to school.
The family faced several challenges in their original bamboo hut. Pa Haw Saw cooked over a charcoal fire in a small corner of the hut under an unstable roof, and at night the entire family slept on makeshift beds. As a result of these factors coupled with the severe weather conditions of the region, Pa Haw Saw became concerned about the condition of their hut and the safety of her family.